Blank votes - UK and internationally
The Blank Vote is available as a choice in some electoral systems around the world. It provides the voter with the option to indicate her/his disapproval with all of the candidates in an election.
Like 'None of the Above', the Blank Vote is based on the important democratic principle that public support for elected candidates is only meaningful if people also had the option to show that they did not support any of the candidates.
'Blank Vote' is established practice in Spain (voto en blanco), France (vote blanc), Colombia (voto en blanco), and in the United States Green Party.
In France, voting machines include a blank
vote option. Here the BBC reports a young man's vote in
the presidential elections:
are links to two French organisations for the Blank Vote:
Association pour la reconnaissance du vote blanc www.vote-blanc.org
and Les Citoyens du Vote Blanc www.parti-du-vote-blanc.fr/
In Colombia, March 2014:
'With "Voto en Blanco" emerging as a more popular candidate than at least five other presidential hopefuls, Colombians have started to pay attention to this curious option.' http://colombiareports.co
In Spain, blank vote is an established tradition. We first heard about it when a good friend in Malaga described voting blank as the most important thing she could do. Here a campaign site responds to a doubtful citizen. www.votoenblanco.com/ To translate, it says:
'The Blank Vote is a democratic rejection of all the current political options, with a continued belief in democracy. It is the vote most appropriate when all the parties are corrupt, or when their intentions are not attractive, or when they breach these programs, or when they have exceeded their lawful power, or when they have perverted the system…'
Blank Vote in the UK?
We believe that a 'None of the Above' or 'Blank Vote' option should be provided in the UK. It is not good democracy to imply that people only have a choice between supporting a candidate or not being counted.
The 2008 London Mayoral and Assembly elections set the precedent for blank votes being formally recognised and retained in results. In the Mayoral election, 13,034 blank votes were cast, and in the Assembly Member election, 39,894 blank votes were cast. http://static.london.gov.uk
As we show on the Protest Votes Count page, the Electoral Commission guidelines advise that protest votes be classified as 'voter intention uncertain'. To challenge and change this advice, protest votes need to be clear beyond dispute. So don't leave your ballot blank, and of course don't put a cross anywhere!
Write NONE across your ballot paper, and put a line through all the boxes.
Protest votes will count when enough people vote NONE and make the protest newsworthy.